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Class Claims Mattresses Emit Chemicals

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Tempur-Sealy mattresses and pillows emit volatile organic compounds, including formaldehyde, that have given customers allergic reactions, a class action claims in Federal Court.

Lead plaintiff Michael Dodson sued Tempur-Sealy and Tempur-pedic North America, seeking class certification, punitive damages for violations of California business law, restitution, a constructive trust and an injunction.

"Tempur-pedic pillows and mattresses can and do emit a chemical odor caused by volatile organic compounds ('VOCs') off-gassing from Tempur-pedic's products," the lawsuit states. "Tempur-pedic admits this fact in some of its sales and marketing materials but downplays its significance and routinely omits telling its potential and actual customers that numerous past Tempur-pedic customers have complained about the odor. Tempur-pedic also omits telling its potential and actual customers that numerous past customers have reported allergic symptoms and reactions that those customers attribute to the chemicals off-gassing from Tempur-pedic's products.

"Instead of providing its potential and actual customers with all the material facts available to Tempur-pedic and training its retail distribution network and its own retail sales and marketing representatives with all the material facts available to Tempur-pedic concerning its past customer complaints of allergic reactions to Tempur-pedic's products, Tempur-pedic has stated: 'Your new mattress may have a slight odor remaining from our manufacturing process. This is normal. It's completely harmless and will dissipate in a few days.' To the contrary, however, Tempur-pedic has known since at least March of 2007, and possibly earlier, that its Tempur-pedic customers have complained both of significant odor problems that last for months and of allergic reactions from Tempur-pedic products."

One of the VOCs the mattresses emit is formaldehyde, a "known human carcinogen," according to the complaint. Yet since 2007 the company has claimed that its products are "allergen resistant," Dodson says in the 66-page lawsuit.

The proposed class is represented by Allen Stewart, of Dallas.

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